Chris Perez made a rehab appearance tonight with the Akron Aeros as the Aeros faced off against the Trenton Thunder, the New York Yankees Double A affiliate. Blake Wood started the game and pitched one marvelous inning, striking out the side. Perez came on in the second inning and it looked as though Akron would have a big advantage with two quick and easy innings to start the game before giving the ball over to ace Matt Packer. All did not go as planned however, and Perez’s performance left more questions than answers.
Perez took the mound to face off first against Thunder shortstop Carmen Angelini. The at-bat was the mismatch one would expect when a Major Leaguer faces a Double A kid. Perez threw a fastball down the middle for called strike one, blew a fastball by him for strike two, then made him look silly on a nicely executed slider to sit down Angelini. It looked as though this would be a short outing for Perez. Next up was third baseman Reegie Corona who came into the night with a .221 batting average and one home run on the season. He looked confident enough, but this should be an easy out number two.
Corona took a fastball inside for a ball and then fouled off a fastball straight back to the screen. The swing looked good, but Corona has not been hitting well, and Perez was looking pretty decent. The next pitch was another fastball and Corona turned on it and skied it high and deep in the air to right field. Aeros right fielder Carlos Moncrief raced back to the wall, but slowed up as he reached the track. His effort was in vain as the ball landed half way up the bleachers for a home run. Perez came back and struck out Jose Pirela, but one thing that was clearly noticeable was the fact that his velocity was down. His fastballs were hitting between 89-91 one the Canal Park radar gun. Still, he had struck out two batters and looked to get out of the inning with just one hiccup.
Light hitting catcher Francisco Arcia stepped up and walloped the first pitch he saw into the seats in right field. The shot was impressive for two reasons. One, it was Arica’s first home run of the season, and two, the wind was blowing in from right field. Perez had now issued two home runs on the night. In typical Perez fashion, he then beaned Trenton DH Shane Brown in the back. He was subsequently booed by the Akron fans, something that Perez didn’t seem to notice. Next up was leadoff hitter Ramon Flores. Flores too offered at the first pitch he saw and hit what may be one of the longest home runs I’ve seen hit in Canal Park. The ball landed beyond the right field bleachers and right smack in the middle of the Kids Fun Zone just in front of the Menchies Frozen Yogurt stand.
Perez played off the pounding.
“I wasn’t trying to blow anyone away,” Perez said, “I’m just trying to loosen up and get some mound work in. In the last month I’ve only thrown to live hitters twice.”
Perez would give up a double and a single before finally getting out of the inning. In all he pitched one inning, gave up five runs on five hits, two strikeouts, one hit batter and three home runs. Not a great outing, but afterward Perez was indifferent.
“It doesn’t matter,” Perez said, “I don’t care, I don’t pay attention, I’m just here to get my pitches in, get my work in.”
He feels like he did just that and he’s ready to get back on the mound for the Indians.
“I’m ready to go; I’m 100% ready to go.” Perez said.
The Indians finish a three game set with the Kansas City Royals tomorrow night at 7:05; they have Thursday off before hosting the Minnesota Twins on Friday.